Garcia hoping to go one step better

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Published: Wednesday 5th November 2014 by The News Editor

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Sergio Garcia will look to turn a string of near-misses into a lucrative victory in the £5.4million WGC-HSBC Champions event in Shanghai this week.

But the Ryder Cup star still does not hold out much hope of catching the absent Rory McIlroy at the top of the Race to Dubai standings to become European number one for the first time in his career.

Garcia has recorded four second-place finishes in his last eight events, including being joint runner-up in the CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.

However, by opting to play on the PGA Tour rather than in the first event of the European Tour’s Final Series – the BMW Masters – the Spaniard was unable to close the gap to McIlroy, which stands at more than three million points.

And the 34-year-old – who had three straight second-place finishes this summer in the Travelers Championship, Open Championship and US PGA – actually dropped from second to third on the Race to Dubai thanks to Gleneagles team-mate Jamie Donaldson claiming a share of fourth place at Lake Malaren.

“If I win all three tournaments and Rory doesn’t play, then I have a chance,” said Garcia, who actually needs the equivalent of yet another second place and top-five finish in his next two events to keep his hopes alive of overhauling McIlroy at the season-ending DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

“I’m not really thinking about that much. I just want to have three good tournaments to finish with, try to finish second there and it would be a nice way to close out the year.

“At the end of the day, the most important thing is to keep playing well and keep enjoying it and try to do the best we can these next few weeks.”

World number six Justin Rose moved up from eighth to fifth on the money list after sharing fourth place with Donaldson last week, the duo finishing just a shot outside the three-man play-off won by Germany’s Marcel Siem.

But the former US Open champion was also not about to get carried away about the prospect of catching McIlroy, who is missing the two events in Shanghai to prepare for his upcoming court case with a former management company.

” I am in the position where I still need to keep the foot down and play as hard as I can,” Rose told European Tour Radio. “For me to make any inroads I need to win the last couple of tournaments, both world ranking wise and Race to Dubai wise.

“I think I am too far behind to catch Rory but there are still points and prizes to be had so I am still motivated.”

McIlroy is the only one of Europe’s victorious Ryder Cup team not in action at Sheshan International Golf Club, where American Dustin Johnson beat Ian Poulter by three shots 12 months ago.

Johnson is not in the 78-man field – which features 40 of the world’s top 50 – as he continues his leave of absence to deal with “personal challenges”, but 2011 winner Martin Kaymer will be hoping to continue his impressive record at the venue.

Kaymer, who shot a final round of 63 on his way to victory three years ago and also holds the course record of 62, has finished in the top 10 on three of the four other occasions he has played at the Shanghai venue.

“I’m really, really looking forward to playing this event,” said Kaymer, who won the Players Championship and US Open earlier this year. “It’s my favourite course in the whole of Asia. I’ve always done very well here. It suits my eye a lot and I have shot nine under and 10 under in the last two tournaments, so I know I can play very low rounds.

“Since the Alfred Dunhill Links I haven’t played much golf at all. We play so much golf, especially in the last three months, playing on both Tours with the FedEx Cup and then the Ryder Cup. I moved apartments in Germany and it was nice to do something completely different.

“But now I’m ready again and I came here on Monday morning to practise a bit. This is a big week for everyone. It’s a huge event that I’d really like to win again.”

Published: Wednesday 5th November 2014 by The News Editor

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